Homeopathic Remedies for Croup

Croup – laryngitis pseudomembranacea s.cruposa – inflammation of the laryngeal mucosa, accompanied by fibrinous exudate, deposited on its surface. In almost all cases, without exception, croupous inflammation of the larynx appears along with inflammation of the mucous membrane of the pharynx. In rare cases, the croupous process is localized from the very beginning in the larynx and from there it spreads to the mucous membrane of the pharynx.

However, in the ordinary course of this disease process, it does not stop in the larynx, but extends even further down to the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and, in the most difficult cases, even to the bronchi.

The croup is almost exclusively a disease of childhood from the 2nd to the 7th year, that is, the period between the first and second teething. Boys get sick much more often than girls; according to statistical calculations, 70-60 percent of the cases belong to the male sex.

There is a disagreement regarding the constitution that predisposes to croup disease. Some doctors have argued that it is the strong and healthy children who most often get sick with croup. However, French authors, in particular Rilliet and Barthez, proved with the help of statistical data the inconsistency of this opinion. From the very accurate studies of these scientists, it is clear that the children of the scrofulous, the so-called lymphatic constitution, are the most inclined to croup disease.

The child, once ill with croup, for the most part easily again exposed to inflammatory diseases of the larynx.

The so-called secondary croup that accompanies other diseases, such as measles, typhoid and tuberculosis, is very rare.

The causes of croup very often remain unknown. In some cases, the cause for the onset of the disease is the cooling of the body due to rapid temperature changes or the action of cold winds, especially the north and north-west winds, in other cases, on the contrary, it is absolutely impossible to find any likely reason. Croup is not infectious.

At the onset of the disease with a croupous inflammation of the larynx, the mucous membrane shows various degrees of hyperemia. But soon an exudate forms, which on the surface of the mucous membrane is in the form of thin whitish patches. These shreds, which at the beginning have thick cream consistency, gradually increase and merge with each other; at the same time, they become denser and finally creat solid membranes, which in the most difficult cases cover the entire surface of the mucous membrane of the larynx, respiratory tract and even large bronchi. The mucous membrane of the pharynx in most cases is also affected by croupous inflammation, while the spread of croupous effusion to the esophagus is observed only as a rare exception.

The croup usually begins with the catarrh of the larynx and pharynx. Children show a certain degree of irritability, they do not play as they usually do. At the same time, the voice begins to become somewhat hoarse and a cough appears with a coarse, barking-like sound. However, it should be noted that when the first symptoms appear, precursors to croup, a rhinitis is almost never noticed. All the symptoms described can appear to such an insignificant degree that sometimes they are completely ignored, and they rarely last more than one day before the appearance of croup in all its strength. Sometimes from the very beginning the disease is in its proper form, with all its horrors.

True symptoms of croup are usually start suddenly in the middle of the night. After a few hours of restful sleep, a coughing fit suddenly occurs. Cough has a very special sound that is difficult to describe; often, it sounds like a dog is barking, which has been barking so hard for so long that it has become hoarse.

At the same time, coughing paroxysms are extremely strong, so that those who are sleeping near the sick child immediately wake up. In this case, the child’s voice is sounds hoarse, breathing is difficult, so that when inhaling a whistling noise is heard.

Child becomes restless. Fever is rarely significant from the outset, but often there is a rather significant sore throat. The disease is still difficult to distinguish from acute catarrhal inflammation of the larynx. Soon, however, croupous paroxysms develop with all the terrible power peculiar to them. The cough is becomes less loud, suffocating, accompanied by the terrible efforts of the child and inexpressible fear.  As soon as the child feels the approach of a paroxysm of cough, he jumps up and clings to these near him with horror or throws himself convulsively in bed from one place to another. This terrible choking gradually gradually increases. The face becomes pale at first, then bluish and finally it usually shows swelling. Pulse more and more quickens and decreases. The paroxysms of cough and the terrible choking associated with them are interspersed, and then the sick lie, utterly exhausted, in oblivion.

If in this way disease process has reached its full development, then in those cases that end happily, sometimes patients suddenly start coughing up more or less webbed flakes of croupous effusion. The cough little by little becomes looser, suffocation begins to decrease, and in the respiratory throat moist rales are heard. Little by little, the clear, mucous sputum without particles of croupous membranes begins to separate. Hoarseness disappears and fever finally stops. In many cases in the morning or during the day comes a significant relief: shortness of breath decreases, the sonorous voice returns, the cough becomes rare, the frightened facial expression becomes calmer and finally the fever significantly decreases. However, one should not be deceived by the hope the disease has passed. Experience shows that for the most part these improvements are only temporary, because the next night all the symptoms of the previous one are often repeated.

Croup is one of those diseases that most contributed to the spread of homeopathy in all civilized countries of the world. With such comparatively brilliant results as they are achieved by homeopathic treatment for croup, recognized unanimously by all for one of the most transient and deadly childhood diseases, even the most stubborn prejudices are often overcome. If it were true that homeopathic medicines in small doses are not valid, and that in cases where patients recover from homeopathic treatment, the disease has disappeared of itself, then the homeopathic doctor, who takes care of the child, would be blamed in the craziest frivolity. In the use of homeopathic medicines in most cases, patients recover.

The three main remedies against croup: Aconitum napelis, Spongia Tosta and Hepar Sulphuris Calcarea. Of these, Aconitum corresponds in particular to the very first onset of the disease; the real symptoms of croup have not yet been fully revealed. Spongia corresponds to the actual inflammatory process in the larynx and bronchi. Hepar sulphuris counteracts the tendency to the formation of croupous membranes and contributes to the softening and absorption of these effusions.

Aconitum Napelis: Croup, brought on by sudden change of temperature from warm to intensely cold weather. First stages of croup, with cough and loud breathing during expiration, but not during inspiration, every expiration ends with a hoarse hacking cough. Croupy cough waking in first sleep, particularly with children, after dry cold winds. Child grasps at his throat after every coughing fit. Short, dry, titillating cough, every inspiration seems to increase the cough. There is marked degree of anxiety and fear, fright.

Spongia Tosta: Here the throat is more dry than in Aconite and has the same aggravation of symptoms before midnight. The larynx is painful to touch, movement and turning the head brings the pain. The larynx is dry and burning with constriction. Cough on turning the head. When croup is declared, the respiration is short and gasping and there is suffocation. The cough is dry, rough with dry rales like the sound of sawing of wood. The patient has the sensation that there is a pad which obstructs his throat. He has nasal voice and he has burning sensation in the larynx. The cough starts before midnight, accompanied by dyspnoea. The inspiration is difficult, as if he is inspiring through a thick linen. The suffocation or the cough wakes up the patient with anxiety. The dyspnoea is aggravated while lying down, during inspiration, while turning the head and before midnight. Better by bending forward. The suffocation of Spongia becomes established slowly, and the respiration is stridulous between the paroxysms, while in Aconite it is established suddenly. Cough better by drinking or eating, specially by hot drinks. Spongia is aggravated by cold west wind; before midnight and during full moon, by movement, after sleep, during inspiration. The patient cannot lie down with the head low. Better by lying down with the head high.

Hepar Sulphuris Calcarea: It is a principal remedy for croup, with the sensation that a splinter is stuck in is throat. Child cries out by the least touch on the affected region, which is painful and for the same reason lies on the side less affected. The breath has the smell of old cheese. The cough is rough, barking, more notify than Aconite. One would think that the phlegm cannot be raised from the trachea. Paroxysm comes after midnight, and towards morning. The cough is caused by least inspiration of cold air, and exposure to least cold. Either the patient has uncovered himself (exposing his hands, or he has taken cold food or drink. Hepar is always aggravated by exposure to cold and specialty to dry cold.

At night expectoration of mucus which sometimes contains pieces of false membranes thrown out during violent paroxysms. There is very often perspiration at night. The patient is often drenched with sweat after each fit of cough, but there is no amelioration.

Arsenicum Album: Croup after suppression of skin euptions – nettle rash or hives. Dry cough, worse on lying down, with difficult breathing and accumulation of tenacious mucus in the larynx, or expectoration of bloody mucus. The child grows excessively restless, weak, and is especially worse at midnight. Desires for cold drinks which aggravate, but warm drinks bring some relief. 

Phosphorus: This remedy is useful if other remedies have failed to arrest the disease and the asphyxia increased, and cerebral symptoms become more prominent. Also when complicated with bronchitis; great weakness; very hoarse voice; disposition to relapses. Headache as though it would burst, while coughing; constant tickling cough from the larynx; dryness of the throat day and night; the tonsils and uvula are much swollen; hoarseness and loss of voice; great painfulness of the larynx, preventing talking; stitches, soreness, dryness, and roughness of the larynx; expectoration of viscid or sanguinolent mucus. Worse in the evening and night; also after eating anything warm, and when the weather changes. Better from cold things.

Calcarea Sulphurica: closely resembles Hepar Sulph Calcarea, but marked relief from cold air, child wants to be uncovered and kept cool. Paroxysms of cough towards the morning.

Antimonium Tartaricum: Catarrhal croup with face blue, skin cold and clammy, large quantities of mucus in the bronchi that can not be expectorated.

Belladonna: Dry, barking, spasmodic cough, face flushed, eyes red. Great soreness of the larynx, the child seems as if it would suffocate when it is touched. Bright redness of the fauces. Short anxious inspiration with moaning. Sleepiness but cannot sleep. Starting and jumping during sleep.

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